The term “misplaced modifier” means that the descriptor in the sentence is in the wrong place. Sometimes, these can be quite humorous, even though the writer/speaker may not have intended them to be. In the example above, the placement of the words “in my pajamas” is incorrect.
Take a look at these statements with misplaced modifiers and see how easy it is to misinterpret them:
(The poor truck! Is that covered under manufacturer’s warranty? Or is the driver operating the vehicle with the broken heart, instead of her/his hands and feet?)
(In this example, “only” seems to be describing “cost,” but really should be describing $10. The misplaced modifier interrupts the subject connection with the verb.)
(What’s the name of his other leg? This line was used in the film Mary Poppins.)
There are some great examples of misplaced modifiers in the images at the bottom of this email. Can you see how these can be misunderstood because of the (mis)placement of words?
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